The ongoing celebrations of Dussehra is testimony enough to the supreme concept of unification of cultures through the divine force. The rituals and pujas performed each day had an intriguing uniqueness about it. The rhythm of the vedic chants, the tempo of the sincerity with which they were chanted and the resulting peace one would feel were proof enough of the divinity inherent in the many ceremonies and worship. What’s more, the evening cultural presentations, straddling different forms of art and music too had a distinctive calm about it.
As a part of the Poornahuthi of the Sai Gayathri Homa, an orange-coloured saree was offered to the sacred fire, followed by dry fruits, different flowers etc. Gayathri Mantra was gifted by sage Vishwamitra. First part of the mantra states that the very elements of creation is what is replicated in Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Ether. The second part of the prayer is to activate the intellect. Out of all the mantras, the Gayathri Mantra is the only mantra meant for giving us inner peace. It was specifically mentioned that the proceedings over the last nine days were a wish-fulfilling tree, the Durga Pooja was the Kamadhenu, the Rudra Homa was the Akshay Patra, the Gita Upadesa was the ambrosia. Utilising all the four boons, we need to pray to God to ask for the right things.
After the Homa got over, Bhagawan proceeded to the Durga Pooja celebrations where a Havan was being performed. The Nabami or the ninth day is yet another auspicious occasion for offering prayers to Goddess Durga. After accepting the elaborate Aarthi, Bhagawan moved on the Yagnashaala, where the Rudra Homa was being performed.
After the sequence of rituals, the Chief Priest, Sri Nanjunda Dixit explained some of the intricacies involved in the Aagama Shastra, with special reference to the positioning of the different deities around the main Yagnakundam in different corners. He also explained the significance of worshipping the different deities and the ulterior motive of Loka Kalyanam or the peace and prosperity to the all the beings on this earth.
The morning’s session came to a close after Aarthi was offered to Bhagawan.
The Dussehra celebrations for the penultimate evening began in the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham hall with the arrival of Bhagawan amidst Vedic chants and soulful bhajans. Once Bhagawan was seated on the dais, the proceedings for the evening session began with invocation by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Divya Niketanam, Jayapura Campus, chanting the Medha Sooktam.
The first speaker for the evening was Sri Siddanth Chandrashekhar, an alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prashanthi Nilayam Campus. He is currently working as a Research Scientist in General Electronics Research, Bangalore and is a member of Rhythmic Energy, the alumni brass band that engages in spreading love through music at various institutions such as orphanages and old age homes. He spoke about how as a student he used to try to utilise every chance that he could get with Bhagawan, focussing on receiving as much as possible from Him, before he eventually graduated to trying to do something for Him. Citing a few of his experiences with Bhagawan, he stressed that when we do something for the Lord, if we do it to the best of our capabilities, then that is what makes Him happy. Reminding everyone that God is always there in our hearts and urging all to seek Him from within, he concluded his talk.
The talk was followed by the Geetha Saptaha, an exposition on the Bhagavad Geetha by Sri Badri Narayanan. He explained certain verses in the Geetha, which refer to a chain of events that ultimately lead to one’s perish. The moment we start thinking about external objects, he explained, we become victims to attachment, which then leads to desire, anger, delusion of the mind and subsequently to loss of discrimination. Therefore, it has to be nipped in the bud and that can only be done, he explained, by meditating upon God and getting attached to Him rather than the objects of the senses.
The excellent exposition was followed by the Divine Discourse.
The cultural programme for the evening was a drama on Nachiketa by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Sharada Niketanam, Mandya Campus. Taken from the Katha Upanishad, the inspiring story follows a young lad, Nachiketa, who defies age in his relentless pursuit for knowledge. The drama was followed by the offering of Arathi to Bhagawan, bringing the evening session to an end.